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Wow, doesn’t it feel just like yesterday that the Balloon Tire was first introduced to our roads? Well, it wasn’t yesterday. It was in fact April 5, 1922.

Introduced by Firestone, the Balloon Tire proved to be a milestone in the evolution of the automobile. Prior to the Balloon Tire, trucks plied the roads on solid rubber wheels, while cars rolled around on bike-tire-like tires that were made of thin rubber and highly inflated. These tires punctured easily and lasted just two or three hundred miles.

The Balloon Tire changed all this. Consisting of individual cotton tire cords that had been dipped in rubber, this new tire was both stronger and more flexible than the tires it was replacing. It lasted longer, went flat less frequently, and performed well at higher speeds. It was such an improvement, that even Henry Ford modified the design of his Model T to incorporate the Balloon Tire.

[Image:  Firestone Tires]


About the author: Andrew Greene


Now playing the role of grumpy old man in the foothills of Northern California’s Gold Country, Andrew has had a life-long love affair with vehicles of all sorts, from the bicycle he pedaled across the continent in 1991 to the armored personnel carriers he drove in the Army to the bamboo rafts, elephants, motorcycle taxis, ferries and buses he traveled by during the 13 years he lived and worked in South East Asia. Always eager to learn more about how the people of the world get from here to there in their day-today lives, he, a professional journalist, has been covering the vehicle industry for years.


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